Monday, May 31, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was mostly cloudy late in the afternoon and mild today, Sunday. On Swinging Bridge Trail there was some pretty mushrooms. They were redish to pink in color. This is a photo of a Bloody Brittlegil. They were popping up on the trail in just the last day or two. There was another female Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly and I took the back side today as I took the underside on another one yesterday. By the spillway the female Green Heron was sitting on her nest in the tree. The big Yellow bellied watersnake came up from the creek and disappeared under the rocks by the spillway. Also in the area were some Prothonatary Warblers. The males are a very pretty yellow. On Waldon Pond was a lone male Wood Duck. This photo shows it heading for the island. There was a Carolina Wren playing around the waters edge on Goose Pond. Also the mosquitoes are getting really bad all over the park now. The chiggers are bad too. I have many bites from both right now. I went to Beaver Trail and nothing was happening over there except the before mentioned bugs. I walked around to the big bridge over Prairie Creek and saw this Large-flower yellow Tickseed wildflower. Someone walked by and said there were 2 Copperhead Snakes on the trail up the way. I had to get up there fast to get some photos but they had disappeared. A pair of Brown Thrush birds were on Waldon Way trail and some walkers scared them away before I could photo. Also there was a really big seed head from a wild weed on the steep bank on the dike by my parking area. This is a Goatsbeard-Western Salisfy.2 photos. It was about 5 or 6 inches in diameter and when I got back from the trails the wind had already torn in apart. It is good I took the photo on the way down and not back.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Alligator Stories

This is something new on the blog. I have some hopefully interesting alligator stories through the year. There is a link to the right, second one down, that will take you to them. But here is the link also:

Bona Dea dragonfly Update

Bona Dea was sunny and warm but nice to be out yesterday and today,Saturday. At the old Swinging Bridge the dragonflies were really flying around. There were Blue Dashers, Common Baskettails and Eastern Pondhawks and male and female Common Whitetails and a female Great Blue Skimmer. The female Common Whitetail and female Great Blue Skimmers are shown here. The one showing the white breast is the Great Blue Skimmer. Also along Swinging Bridge Trail were some beautiful Wild Pink Rose bushes as you can see. The female Green Heron wading bird is not sitting on her nest in the tree by the spillway. She is no longer afraid of me coming to feed the fish. She must by now be on eggs. No alligator seen yesterday or today. No snakes seen. The Eastern Kingbirds have hatched over around Black Water Swamp and the young ones are grouping together and flying all around the place. The Redwing blackbirds doing the same thing. Boy, the pretty red Northern Cardinals are also out in force. Never saw a year that they were so numerous and some birding groups say they are moving further north. Well, not this year. Also more Wood Ducks around than I have ever seen. The big Pileated Woodpeckers are out in force this year. More so than in recent years. The small Downy Woodpeckers are numerous as well. I have not seen any needle nose Spiny big Softshell turtles seen yet. I am really waiting to get a photo of one of the big things. As said before the Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee birds have hatched young and are all around.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bona Dea birds Update

Bona Dea was sunny and quite a bit warmer and humid today. The water levels at the park was going down. While feeding the Brim and Catfish at the spillway and big Yellow Bellied Watersnake came up the spillway close to me. It went on up into Waldon Pond then stayed close to the bank in front of me and then came up toward me and then back to the water. Hum, wonder what it wanted!!! The Green Heron pair was still maintaining the nest in the tree close by but would only get in their nest when I would back off a ways. A pretty Belted Kingfisher bird landed in the island in Waldon Pond and I took this distance photo of it showing its brown belt around its breast and its blue head and wings. Also close by were baby Carolina Chickadees and their parents were feeding them in the trees. These 2 photos shows one of the baby birds. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo bird was seen in this area again and was just singing away. Over on Beaver Trail the Redwing Blackbirds were doing their thing and it looked like they had some young ones just recently. No alligator seen today. The Pink Roses and Orange Day Lillies wildflowers were really blooming out on Swinging Bridge Trail and the Pink Roses were popping out all over the other trails as well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bona Dea wildflowers, heron Update

Bona Dea was mostly cloudy and cooler and very mild and nice to be outside. On Swinging Bridge Trail there were some new blooming Wild Pink Roses. Nicer ones that I took on another trail some time ago. Also the Orange Day Lilly wildflowers were really starting to bloom and this pick shows a group of them. At the Spillway the pair of Green Herons were still milling around their nest in the willow tree close by. This is a photo of the nest and then the female heron perched in a limb very close to the nest. She did not want her photo taken as she would try to keep hiding behind the vegetation. The Yellow bellied watersnake came back and just had to take another photo of it. It is noted that the birds have new babies now. I saw some Tufted Titmouse parents feeding young on Waldon Way Trail. Some time ago at the Spillway I saw Carolina Chickadee babies being fed. The Red Wing blackbirds are doing the same thing in Black Water Swamp. Of course the Wood Ducks have lots of young swimming in Prairie Creek and Black Water Swamp. The Canadian Geese have already done their thing and I have not seen any in the park for some time now. I suppose they have moved on with their young. The Blue Gill Brim fish have been spawning since early spring and usually do all through the summer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bona Dea frog Update

Bona Dea was mostly cloudy in the afternoon and was raining lightly. At the Spillway the Yellow bellied watersnakes were still around. The Green Herons were still trying to make up their minds if they were going to nest nearby. Some flycatchers were flying about the island in Waldon Pond. At the old swinging bridge, the Wood Ducks were still in Prairie Creek. There were large Raccoon tracks on the trail down to the waters edge. Also some deer tracks. A lot of this activity takes place at night. On Waldon Way Trail the Redwing Blackbirds were in the bushes and trees. Also the Brown Thrasher bird was singing away in a tree in the distance. On Beaver Trail a really big American Bullfrog was completely out on the bank. These photos shows the side and back views. Also Wood Ducks and their babies were swimming around in Black Water Swamp and some were calling out across the water. After I got home and looked out the bedroom window I saw this Bird-voiced Tree Frog just sitting on the window. The photos shows the inside and outside look. These are the same type of tree frogs that are at Bona Dea and really start singing in the late afternoon and night.

Bona Dea birds and dragonfly Update

Bona Dea was hot and sunny today, Monday. The spillway was running more than yesterday or the day before. It has not rained but probably due to the authorities shutting some of the gates at the Damn across the Arkansas River and causing Lake Dardanelle to rise which is adjacent to Bona Dea. Must be a breach in the dike separating the 2. No Alligator or snakes seen today. But there was a new dragonfly variety showing up in numbers. These were Blue Dasher dragonflies. Also like the male Pond Hawks mentioned in earlier posts but a little different. See photo. Also in Swinging Bridge trail was a Carolina Wren in a tree. Small brown bird in photo. The Day Lily flowers were really blooming as shown in previous post as well as the Pink Wild Roses blooming in other areas in the park. Also a flock of Prothonatary Warblers were on the trail. This photo is of one I took and posted a few weeks back showing their beautiful yellow color. Also a flock of Carolina Chickadees were in the same area. They are the black and white birds with a black cap. At the parking area on Lake Dardanelle across from the park were flocks of American Crows and Cliff Swallows flying around. The catfish came back today for some fish food. It has found that this is a pretty good place to eat. I went over to Beaver Trail and did not see anything except the Red Wing blackbirds around Black Water Swamp. I forgot about the strange Brown Thrasher bird that was in a tree close by and flew off before a photo could be had. It was doing its unusual thing of mocking other bird sounds. I mentioned this with photo in a previous post.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bona Dea wildflower, alligator, birds Update

Bona Dea was sunny and very warm. On Swinging Bridge Tail there were very pretty orange Day lily wildflowers. Also on another trail close by were several beautiful wild Pink Roses. The blackberries I showed in a recent post showing red berries but today they had already ripened and I actually ate them as well as others on other trails. They were really sweet and tangy. Just very good tasting. There was a Northern Pearly-eye butterfly on the trail and down by the Old Swinging Bridge were 2 pairs of wood Ducks. These 2 males really look pretty in the photo. By the spillway was a Crawfish Den made of mud. It goes down in the hole and brings up mud and packs it up in a stack. I saw it doing this yesterday but it would not stay on top long enough to photo. It moved pretty fast. Also a Boat-tail Grackle blackbird landed close by and then a small black and while Downy Woodpecker came by for a visit. Also 2 Yellow-bellied watersnakes were playing in the downsflow from the spillway and this one was sticking its head out about 2 feet from me. I can't sign off without mentioning I saw the Alligator again today. 2 photos. Tufted Titmouse birds were flying around and I heard the Baltimore Oriole high in the trees. Blackwing blackbirds were in Black Water Swamp. Dragonflies were all over the place today. Swallows were flying around the water by the pumping station. Also at the spillway the 2 Green Herons I talked about yesterday were back and it may be they are fixing to nest right close to where I feed the fish. I believe they are building a nest in a fork of a limb hanging over the water. We will see. Basking turtles were out on their snags in the ponds. The turtles and catfish came back today for some more food.

Bona Dea Catfish, Musk Turtle and more Update

Bona Dea was sunny and actually hot today. There was a little wind making it more tolerable. They have finally started mowing the park yesterday and today. They have mowed most of the area where I took most of the wildflower photos. I am glad they waited this long. But the reason is that they have given the job to new people. On Swinging Bridge Trail the blackberries have started to form. This photo shows 2 red berries. They will turn black when ripe. But someone will probably pick them before I take a photo. At the spillway there were a pair of Green Heron wading birds flying around Waldon Pond and landing in various trees. The funny thing is that the male was carrying some nesting material around in its mouth and chasing the female all over the place. He must be trying to get her to start nesting. This photo is of one of them. I fed the fish as usual and among the eaters were Brim fish and a flathead or mud catfish. Also a Red-ear Slider turtle. A photo showing the catfish with whiskers and a food pellet floating at its head. It is starting to eat it. I caught a Musk Turtle out of the water and placed it on dry land to take this photo showing how small this adult is next to the green pea size food pellets that I use. One photo showing its webbed front foot. The Yellow bellied watersnake was playing around in the down flow of the spillway and after this photo it dived under the rocks. On the way out on the trails there were several Red Admiral butterflies and had to take this distance shot of one. Also playing around the area was this young Cottontail bunny rabbit eating on the green grass. Great Blue Heron wading birds were out on the various banks and blackbirds were flying around. Also a flock of small ducks flew over that may have been Blue Teal or Wood Ducks. The Canadian Geese have not been seen in a few weeks now. A muskrat was swimming in Black Water Swamp. No alligator seen today. The water in the ponds is still high and they are still pumping the water out of the park.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bona Dea Turtle nest, Bullfrog, Wildflower Update

Bona Dea was sunny and windy and warmer today, Friday. A former Co-worker came along for a visit. We went on Swinging Bridge Trail and first thing saw a Red-eared Slider water turtle's nest. The babies had apparently hatched and dug their way out of the really hard gravel packed trail. One photo shows the hole and white egg shells that I lined around the hole. The other is a close up of the inside of the hole showing how deep it was and the gravels. I fed the fish some at the Spillway and then saw a Great Blue Heron wading bird sitting on a log in Prairie Creek. One photo shows it looking back at me and the other one showing it preening itself. Some Green Herons flew over Waldon Pond as well as some American Crows. Easter Kingbirds were working over on the island in the pond. Also along the trail close to the old Swinging Bridge were some just opened blooms of a Light Blue Harebell Bellflower. 2 photos. Then over on Beaver Trail there was actually a Beaver in Black Water Swamp. But as luck would have it, my camera battery died. But before that I took this photo of a big Bullfrog. On the way out to the parking area, there were Scissor-tail Flycatchers and Mourning Doves around the pumping station. The spillway was still running pretty good. Too much to cross over. But a good sized Yellow/Plain bellied watersnake swam by to say hello.